Are you contemplating market expansion for your organization, but aren’t sure how to get access and traction with your product or service? Perhaps, you’ve expanded to a new market recently, but are not yet resonating with your target audience?
When asked ‘what you do and how you’re different’, do you find that your sales, service and marketing teams all have different answers or responses? Almost as if they were singing out of tune?
If any of the above sounds like you or your organization, chances are that your value proposition needs work.
According to two major surveys, close to a third of those polled cite entering new markets as their priority for driving new growth. The survey goes on to reveal that the top challenge for business owners is attracting new customers.
With so many businesses having plans to expand to new markets or appeal to a new customer segment, there may be no topic more important than how to develop a strong value proposition.
In fact, a strong value proposition is the key that unlocks the door to new markets.
In addition, I would suggest that your value proposition is also the key that unlocks focus, passion and engagement in your people – if communicated and cascaded through the organization correctly. If you believe you have a strong value proposition but have not gained the traction you thought you might, it could be that your organization is out of tune.
Let’s go under the hood together to unpack the three major components of a solid value proposition.
I have included an image below of a value proposition map that we utilize with our clients – it’s a simple venn diagram that’s designed to provide clarity on the sweet spot for you in a particular market or with a certain audience. In addition, I’ve included the map as a template download that you can start using immediately.
Your Unique Strengths
I highly recommend you start your value proposition work in the unique strengths circle. Here’s why – as you consider moving into new markets or generating appeal with a new audience, it’s critical that you lead from a position of strength.
Picture your brand or business as an arrow flying into a new market towards a target. The sharpest part of the arrow should be a core strength in your offering. The balance of the arrow can be comprised of capabilities considered to be necessary or required as part of new market entry.
An exercise that might precede your analysis of ‘unique strengths’ is a simple SWOT analysis on your organization (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats). You’ll want to identify the special strengths or capabilities that you possess, have built or are building that address a specific problem that you seek to solve. In example, strengths or capabilities might surface in the form of intellectual property, technologies, infrastructure, or talent.
Your Customers’ Unique Needs
This particular circle requires some upfront research to really understand your target audience. It’s much deeper and holistic than simply knowing what problem your audience has that your offering solves. Understanding the kinds of motivations, emotions and frustration that the problem creates in your target audience’s lives is also a critical learning at this stage.
In this section, you’ll want to ensure you have a good handle on the real problem that you’re trying to solve for the target audience. Within the vast digital landscape, there are numerous tools that can help you better understand your target audience. An obvious strategy is to go speak directly with him or her to uncover potential gaps or unmet needs that exist.
Divergent From Your Competitors
This circle also requires research to understand the competitive offerings in the marketplace to ensure your offering is not an exact match. Having two brands or businesses in the same market with the same offering will only detract from your efforts.
Understanding the competitive landscape in the marketplace can help you prioritize potential sweet spots for your unique offering. Who competes in the space? How well do they address the top needs of this target audience? Where are the gaps within the current offerings?
In addition to the above exercise, a question that provokes additional thought, and drives clarity into your value proposition design is the following:
Can your brand or business bring more, new or better value to this customer segment with your offering?
If you fail to get your offering to slot under one of the three descriptors – more, new or better value – you’ll find it increasingly difficult to stand out or be relevant in a crowded and competitive marketplace.
As you contemplate market expansion and reaching a new target audience, it’s imperative that you journey through the above exercise as a priority. What follows next could be the design of a statement that will help communicate your value proposition across your stakeholder groups.
In terms of value proposition statements, here are four great examples. And, you can find more good examples here and here. Just be careful not to jump into crafting a value proposition statement before you’ve gone through the right mapping and learning exercise.
If interested, be sure to grab the template download to help guide you through the exercise.
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If you found this article helpful and know colleagues who may also have interest in the topic, please don’t hesitate to share!
Perhaps most importantly, if this article hits the bulls-eye for you in any direction – whether you already have a value proposition or not – and you’d like to dig deeper, learn more, and connect, click here.
The Strategy of Choice for 2016 is the best starting point for your growth plans this year. If you haven’t read it yet, it’s a 3-minute read at most with a short business-assessment that you can complete on-line. Check it out.